The Oldest Story

“When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.” ~ Joseph Campbell

“Power focuses on self-preservation; principle focuses on making ideas successful.” ~ Dan Webster

Barry and I binge watched Victoria this long weekend catching up for the season finale next week. Two of the episodes were eerily similar to what’s going on now. The first, which was the most emotionally affecting for us, was about the Irish Potato Famine. It centered around Robert Traill, a Protestant vicar in Cork, a mostly Catholic region, who feels the plight of the people most deeply. Most are poor and starving as a result of the potato blight and the unwillingness of the landed gentry and the Protestant clergy to help them. Traill can’t stand by and watch innocent people die. So he writes a column in a London newspaper hoping to get the government to act. Queen Victoria reads the article and invites him to come to the palace so she can understand what’s happening and try to do something to help. She sends some of her own money to feed people, and she enlists the help of Prime Minister Peel to sway Parliament to do something. But it’s too late. One million people die, including the historical figure, Reverend Traill. Two million Irish emigrate to the U.S. The arguments are the same as now. “The poor need to work harder, they need to stop taking charity, they need to … blah, blah, blah.” I was weeping by the end of the episode. Why are we so callus and lack empathy for our fellow human beings?

The next episode takes place shortly after the Irish crisis and is about repealing a bill that benefited the landed gentry and took food out of the mouths of the poor in England. At one point speaking with her Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel, in reference to the repeal of the Corn Laws, Queen Victoria says, “Nobody likes to give up what they already have …” It’s so true and sad that we haven’t progressed past that.

Her comment points to the oldest story of human history, the world is dangerous and we must be about preserving ourselves and what we have. We gain a little wealth, power, and things and we don’t want to give them up because we think the things we’ve gathered will protect us. Look at our myths both ancient and modern. What is the main theme? Superpowers, or magic, or super heroes, or being physically strong, or having the best most modern weapons will save us. But they won’t because the problem isn’t outside ourselves. It’s inside and some of us are just now beginning to realize that fact.

We hear it all the time. “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” That’s right. Frightened angry people hurt other people, but we need to take the guns out of the hands of frightened angry people to begin to protect the innocent. Then we need to address the underlying fear and rage that has brought us to this place.

Amassing great wealth won’t protect us either. The scriptures of every major religion encourage us to love and take care of one another. But even as I awaken, I feel the tension between self-preservation and using my resources to help others. One of the most profound lessons in the sacred books I’ve read is that God is our protection. Hearing or reading those words, my mind says “Yes!” but letting that sink in emotionally is a different story. It has taken me many years to even come close to letting go of the idea that if I don’t protect myself, no one else will. I’m just now beginning to understand that God, or Higher Power if you prefer, has my back.

I think our present upheaval and debates on gun control, human rights, and the rest are a great opportunity. Gary Zukav says that human beings learn through crisis. We don’t take action, or change our minds until we’re forced by circumstances to do so. Hopefully we’ve come to the edge where we will finally let go of self-preservation, fear and anger and allow ourselves to feel and build something new.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

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Life is Messy. Why That’s a Good Thing!

Marco Polo Sings A Solo

“The one thing that I keep learning over and over again is that I don’t know nothing. I mean, that’s my life lesson.” ~ Dwayne Johnson

“My greatest life lesson has been that life can change in a second. This is why it’s important to always live your best possible life and to do what you can for others.” ~ Niki Taylor

This has been a devastating week both on a national level and in the lives of my students. I never know what to say at such times. I want to be of comfort. I want to assure my students, or friends that when things fall apart, they are really falling together. I even said that to one of my students when she said, “My life is a mess.” But later I thought, “That was stupid. She needed comfort not platitudes.”

The thing is, I’m old enough now to have lived through lots of life shattering events and I know that when my life falls apart, I have this extraordinary opportunity to build something new with the pieces. And some of you might think I’m crazy, but I know that there is some power guiding us through such trying times. We just have to trust that’s true and then try to listen to what that still small voice is telling us. I know these things, but when I say them, or share them on social media, people can’t understand what I’m driving at. They get angry with me or they say, “Yeah, but …”. I can’t blame them. When you’re in the middle of the drama, it’s hard to see that outside the theatre there is something more wonderful going on.

After that encounter with my student, I berated myself for not being caring enough. I felt like I failed and I started thinking about how to share what I’ve learned about life being messy and how failure and loss can be the beginning of a more fulfilling life. Then I had to laugh at myself. My book, The Space Between Time is my life philosophy expressed as a story. Jenna and Morgan face life shattering events, they embrace the messiness of their lives and come through to happier plateaus.

I’ve always loved fairy tales, myths, movies, and books. I didn’t know why, but when I became involved in theatre it dawned on me that stories give us the chance to open up to new perspectives. And when we allow ourselves to be influenced by the story we get a glimpse of new ways of thinking and being. That’s what propelled my drive to begin writing.

In real life encounters, all I can do is BE with those who are suffering while they find their own way through the darkness. But as a writer, I have an opportunity to give comfort in a different way. Stories give us a chance to learn at a safe distance. That’s exciting! Now that I’ve realized the truth of that, I’m more determined than ever to keep working on improving my story telling skills.

Here is an audio recording of the second segment of chapter one of The Space Between Time. I’m experimenting with creating my own audio segments, so this is not perfect, but I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for reading and listening. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Embracing Who I AM

Human Brain Thinking

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.” ~ Robert Fulghum

When I started this blog, I had to choose a “what this blog is about” subtitle. As you can see I wrote, The Arts, Spirituality, Life. Those are all pretty big topics. I mean, I could write a twice weekly blog about just one of those subjects. In fact, I just read a blog post by someone I follow that advises that you should choose one topic and write consistently about that if you want to attract lots of followers.

So, I’ve been breaking the rules. Which might be the reason I don’t have lots of followers. But I can’t write about just one topic twice a week. If I did that I’d get bored. And that’s kind of been the story of my life. I’m interested in lots of things. I got a degree in religious studies because I was interested in that subject. Movies, books and theatre have been a big part of my life too. I loved teaching both drama and English because they have to do with story telling, which is why I love writing. My husband and I watch a variety of scripted shows but also programs which air on the History, Science, NatGeo and PBS channels. If it looks interesting, we try an episode or two.

Now, I’m coming to this idea rather late in life, but I saw a TED talk about multipotentialites, by Emilie Wapnick, and finally after all these years I said, “That’s me!” Someone once said to me, “You are interested in so many things that you lose focus. You need to pick one thing and concentrate on that and you will be successful.”

Hmm. I could see their point, but I couldn’t see myself choosing just one discipline to devote my life to for twenty or thirty years. I settled on teaching because I have been a teacher in one capacity or another for over forty years. I like it because it allows me to go out and explore topics related to what I’m teaching. When I taught American literature, I got to explore history, as well as the lives of the authors, their interests and influences. It was one of the most fun things about the job. Theatre and writing are also disciplines where I get to do research, so naturally, I love them as well.

One thing I’ve learned over the years of writing this blog, though, is that the posts that touch people the most are the ones where I share not only ideas, but how they affect me emotionally. Emotional intelligence is, in my opinion, highly underrated. We get these cultural ideas into our heads and when certain people don’t fit into that mold they are shoved to the fringes of society. But maybe that’s changing because of people like Emilie Wapnick. And maybe that’s what was so compelling about her TED talk. The people she mentions don’t try to fit into the little boxes society tries to put them into. They believe in themselves, which makes them emotionally strong. They create their niche and make a difference.

So, the TED talk confirmed something I’ve thought for a very long time, that we need people who not only think outside the box, but who believe in themselves enough to work to make the connections that will propel us forward. I have always encouraged my students to do this, think critically, look beneath the surface of what’s happening in a piece of literature, or advertising, or in world events and try to see what’s really going on. Because developing the ability to see the many layers in any situation can help us find new ways to solve our problems. That is exactly what Emilie Wapnick suggests in this video. And you can do that whether you are a specialist, or a multipotenialite.

I have no idea what I’m going to be doing with this information, but I’m excited to know that I’m not crazy, just interested in lots of different things. And using what I’ve learned just might help solve some little problems that lead to solving bigger problems.

Thanks for reading my musings. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Here’s the video. See what you think.

https://pc.tedcdn.com/talk/podcast/2015X/None/EmilieWapnick_2015X-480p.mp4

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Coming into the Twenty-First Century

Tarantula Nebula

“The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” ~ Alan Watts

“How can you know what you’re capable of if you don’t embrace the unknown?” ~ Esmeralda Santiago

Today I’m at Cochise College second annual Comic Con. I’ve never attended a comic con before, but since my book can be classified as fantasy, I thought I’d get my feet wet by participating in a panel discussion about world building and see how it goes. Some of my students and former students may be there, so it’s a good time to promote my book with them.

The Space Between Time kind of defies classification. It’s part historical and contemporary fiction with some time travel, paranormal and magical realism thrown in. So the world I built is based on real life world situations. I didn’t create a whole new civilization, complete with political, scientific, and/or religious struggles. Fortunately I don’t have to do much preparation for this discussion, because I’m a little over my head with creative projects at the moment.

I wanted to share the second section of chapter one of TSBT with you today, but I’m still recovering from my cold and just don’t have the energy to get the section prepped and converted to the proper audio file. Sometimes I feel so behind the times. I want to utilize all this wonderful new technology, but learning how to use it properly can be a struggle. Yet, it’s good to learn new things. In a way it keeps me young.

This week in my dramatic structure class we watched Gentleman’s Agreement a 1947 movie about anti-semitism. It was eerily relevant to what’s happening in our country now, only with muslims, hispanic, Mexican immigrants, and as always, blacks. In the movie, the main character Phil, played by Gregory Peck is writing a series of articles for a progressive magazine. He tells everyone he’s Jewish so he can get inside what it feels like to experience the discrimination for himself and thus bring a new angle to the problem faced by Jews in America. His mother, played by the wonderful Anne Revere, says after reading the first two installments of the series, “You know something, Phil? I suddenly want to live to be very old. Very. I want to be around to see what happens. The world is stirring in very strange ways. Maybe this is the century for it. Maybe that’s why it’s so troubled. Other centuries had their driving forces. What will ours have been when men look back? Maybe it won’t be the American century after all … or the Russian century or the atomic century. Wouldn’t it be wonderful … if it turned out to be everybody’s century … when people all over the world – free people – found a way to live together? I’d like to be around to see some of that … even the beginning. I may stick around for quite awhile.” And that’s how I feel. I want to stick around for quite awhile to see if the twenty-first century is everybody’s century.

Hopefully soon, I’ll learn how to make the audio recordings of my book chapters and share them with you. I’ll keep trying to connect with what my nieces, nephews and students are interested in so I can keep up with the changes that are happening. If you look at the world as always getting better, we’re living in a pretty exciting time. When people look back on this time what will they say about us?

Thanks for reading all my meandering thoughts. Have a great weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

My Imagined TED Talk

Oscar Wilde

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” ~ Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.” Abigail Adams

My husband, Barry, and I are doing the year-long Art & Soul Reloaded course with Pam Grout. We just started the myth busting section. You know all those myths about the creative process. This week is about “Myth #2: To Make Art, You Need the Approval of a Publisher, A recording Company, an Art Gallery, Etc.” Each lesson is accompanied by an assignment. This week we are to come up with a title and subject for our TED Talk.

Sometimes, often, actually, the lessons are things I’ve already done, or am doing. But when I read this one, I knew exactly what I would speak about if I were ever to give a TED Talk. It’s the biggest personal growth question of my life: What am I supposed to be learning from this?

That question did several things for me when it came out my pen onto the page of my journal.

It stopped me in my tracks. Before writing that question I thought that life was happening TO me, that the world was against little old me and there was nothing I could do about that but moan and complain until someone came to save me. The thing was, when I asked that question, I became my own savior. Or rather, God and I became partners. S/he’d show me the way and I’d do the work of untangling the mess.

The question forced me to look at my problems from lots of new angles. It was asking me to look at myself and how I was either making the problem worse, or at the very least, not any better. I had to accept that I had a part to play in what was going on. I wasn’t just an innocent bystander.

Which brings me to taking responsibility for my actions. If you think the world is out to get you as I did, then it’s so easy to place the blame outside yourself. When I understood that I was responsible for my reactions, that gave me a new perspective about why people treated me the way they did. Taking a moment to evaluate a situation before making any kind of response is such a helpful tool. It gives me a chance to choose what kind of interaction I’m going to have with the others in the situation. What I say and do affects others in ways I can’t even comprehend at the moment of making the decision. I’ve often been surprised when people come to me and give me feedback about something I’ve said or done. It’s always much nicer when they thank me, rather than accuse and blame me.

Taking responsibility for my reactions to life events was really scary. Beyond making decisions in the heat of the moment, it meant I had to go to those dark places within and accept that I wasn’t perfect. You probably know what that feels like. For me it’s like something souring in my stomach, or having itching powder under my skin. Before asking what am I supposed to learning from this?, I’d have done anything to get rid of that feeling. But trying to escape dealing with our wounds never works. The problems get bigger and bigger until eventually our lives blow up in our faces and we either deal with them, or our souls die. Living with a dead soul is the most hellish thing I can imagine.

Answering the question, what am I supposed to be learning from this?, is a lifelong quest. I’m still working on the answer everyday. I won’t lie to you, taking a good hard look at myself, was the most scary thing I’d ever done because what I thought I’d find was the most unloveable person on the planet. But that’s not what happened. I began to see that almost everyone feels like I did. We think we’re not worthy of love or all the other good things available for us to experience.

So, I don’t know where that question came from, but I’m so glad I asked it and started on a grand adventure of discovering myself.

I’ll end with a quote from one of my favorite plays, An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde. “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” Even though the character saying this means it as a frivolous statement, there is some truth to it, though I’d change “romance” to “love affair”. If we don’t love ourselves who will? And if we don’t love ourselves, how can we love others? Everyone is so busy trying to figure out their own lives. I believe it’s in learning to love ourselves that gives us the courage to be able to build lasting bridges to other people. That’s a worthwhile goal in my book.

Thanks for reading one of my flights of fancy. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Stories That Endure

Bette Davis and Paul Henreid in Now Voyager

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ~ Philip Pullman

“Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.” ~ Ben Okri

It’s been a rough week. I’m still not completely recovered from my cold, so I dragged myself into class last night glad that the movie I’d picked was short. This class I teach every spring is titled dramatic structure. In the class we watch plays and movies and deconstruct the way the story is put together so we can discover the main message the writer and director are trying to get across to the audience. I’m always surprised when students like a classic movie, or play we watch. It gives me hope that maybe they will tune into Turner Classic Movies sometime and watch a vintage movie they might never have considered before taking the class.

Last night I was happy that my students loved the 1942 movie Now Voyager. This is the first time I’ve shown this movie, even though it’s one I love. It’s a domestic drama staring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, and Claude Rains. Davis plays Charlotte Vale who has a nervous breakdown and must learn how to deal with her tyrannical mother played by Gladys Cooper. She is helped by Rains’ character Dr. Jaquith. The thing I love about the movie is that it shows Charlotte not only learning how to build friendships but how to stand up for herself without causing her mother to throw her out. It’s a neat balancing act. She also finds love in an unconventional relationship with a married man played by Henreid. Even though they make a pact never to see each other again, in the end they are brought back together when Charlotte has the opportunity to help Henreid’s daughter with the approval of Dr. Jaquith. I wasn’t surprised that my students could relate to having difficult family relationships and that the film gave them some strategies they could use in their own lives.

There are so many classic plays and movies that are still relevant for us today. And I’m happy to be introducing my students to some of them.

I’ve also been surprised that my students liked Gentleman’s Agreement, staring Gregory Peck and Dorothy McGuire, a story of anti-semitism right after World War II. That ground breaking movie is important because it breaks down the subtle ways people maintain their prejudices while fooling themselves into thinking they have none at all. That’s the movie for next week. I’ll be interested to hear what the students have to say about it.

An Ideal Husband, is another favorite of my students. It’s a play by Oscar Wilde in which he uses witty lines to make the audience laugh, but which has a serious message underneath. Lord Goring, the most frivolous of heroes, helps his friends navigate a serious problem in their relationship. He tells his best friend, “Gertrude, it is not the perfect, but rather the imperfect who have need of love.” We all hope for love and forgiveness from the ones we love. Oscar Wilde delivers that for his characters while at the same time making us laugh at their foibles. It’s a masterpiece as far as I’m concerned.

Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised when a student says something profound about one of the movies or plays we’ve just watched. One year, after a viewing of a filmed stage production of The Taming of the Shrew, we were discussing Kate’s final speech. This is one of Shakespeare’s speeches that is discussed adnausium because it seems that Kate gives up her will to her husband. One student surprised me by saying, “I think that speech and Petrucio’s reaction to it show that they tamed each other.” I had never thought of it like that before. I have always fantasied that after the play was over Kate and Petrucio were going to have a vibrant, sometimes contentious, but deeply loving relationship. But to think that the tamer also gets tamed was a wonderful new way to look at that play.

Now I know that some people watch movies for pure entertainment and don’t want to discuss all the nuances of the story. But social media is full of movie fan discussions dissecting every aspect of the latest movie in their favorite franchise and if that’s not evidence that stories have a kind of power to touch us deeply, I don’t know what is.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate all your comments and likes.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

How to Help Your Favorite Authors

Revised book cover for The Space Between Time

“People can’t read a book if they don’t know it exists. All authors need to do marketing, regardless of how they published.” ~ Jo Linsdell

I’m a bit under the weather as I write this. I guess it’s my year to get a cold, so I’m reposting an article I wrote last year. It’s particularly appropriate since a friend of mine and my mother-in-law recently wrote reviews of my book, The Space Between Time, one on Amazon and the other on Goodreads. They were both favorable, which was very heartwarming. Thanks, Rita.

My mother-in-law, Judy, is a CHAMPION reader. I put champion in caps because she reads about two-hundred books a year. And she writes reviews for most if not all of them. In fact, she won an award from Goodreads a year or so ago for writing so many reviews. So the fact that she took time to read my book, which is not a genre she normally reads, and then wrote a lovely review was a big help for promoting my book. Thanks, Mom.

If you’re a reader, you can do your favorite authors a big favor by doing some of things below to help spread the word about their books. I’ve reposted this a couple of times, but it never hurts to repeat good information.

Word of mouth is still the best advertising tool. How many of you discuss your favorite TV show’s latest episode with friends, family and coworkers? See what I mean? You are creating a buzz. You can do that for your favorite authors as well. Here are some ways you can help them.

Write a review of the books you read and leave it on Amazon, Goodreads, in your blog, any social media site, or bookseller you choose.

If you are a member of Goodreads, just putting books on your “want to read” shelf will get the book noticed by the Goodreads staff and they may even promote them on their site.

If you like a book, let your local bookstore and library know what you thought of it, and ask them to carry and promote it.

Share your thoughts about the book with your friends and book club groups that you might belong to.

Consider asking the author to have a Skype session with your book club group so they can ask questions, or suggest that your local bookstore invite your favorite author to have a book reading/signing.

Give the book to your friends and family as gifts.

You may think these tips are rather easy and trivial, but if you help your favorite author sell more books, you will be helping them pay for all the time they spent working on it. Writing a book is not an easy thing to do, you know. If it was, more people would be doing it.

I’m shamelessly adding the reviews below.

Rita’s review: Recently, I finished reading a book titled, The Space Between Time, by my friend, Lucinda Sage-Midgorden. It was the best book I’ve read in a long time. It kept me captivated, which I have not experienced from any other book for the past couple of years. I loved all the little gems of meaningful and what I call spiritual statements throughout the book. You know, those words that make you pause and think, and sometimes have an “aha” from or a deeper awareness about something. And it was entertaining and informational about some of the history in the 1800’s and yet, contemporary. It also reminded me of the importance of “living in community” and how important it is to help one another and be engaged in your community. Thank you Lucinda for a wonderful, entertaining and captivating book!

Judy’s review: It is quite apparent that I have a relationship with the author of this book. Lucinda Sage-Midgorden is married to my son Barry. Because of that connection you should expect some bias in my evaluation of the book. However, there is another factor that may offset my favorable bias, and that is that I don’t really like and read very few in this genre. When I look at a book that is classified as time-travel, paranormal, or sci-fi, I usually skip it. I wanted to read Lucinda’s book to support her. She has worked for many years to complete this novel, and I know the editing and re-writing that she went through. Well, imagine my surprise when I found myself engrossed in the book and connecting to the characters and the story lines. I deeply respect anyone who writes a book, and Lucinda has produced a complicated novel that involves two different characters that are separated by years. At first I liked the sections with the historical character, Morgan, because my favorite genre is historical fiction. But I also became involved in the troubles that Jenna is facing in her life. It is interesting how these two women separated by time, but connected through family come to help each other deal with their problems. Many times the things these two women learn about facing life is good advice for anyone. I really did enjoy the book, and I hope many more will purchase it and find it as good a read as I did!

If you are so inclined to buy my book, and promote it, I will greatly appreciate it. And so will your favorite authors when you do the same for their books. And by the way, my husband Barry designed the cover art, maps, did the layout, and final editing for the book. It was a team effort.

Thanks for reading, commenting and liking my posts. I appreciate it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Themes for My Year

Act I The Skin of Our Teeth

“I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful – for all of it.” ~ Kristin Armstrong

I resemble the quote above. I just finished my first full week of teaching three college classes. It’s four late evenings a week. A couple of interesting things happened. First, I thought I’d be exhausted by the Thursday night. I wasn’t! I felt great on the drive home, energized by my students. However, when I woke up in the morning my head was in a fog and I felt like everything I’m doing to going to fail, or worse be mediocre. This post is my attempt to unravel my feelings of inadequacy.

The second thing that happened was that I noticed a theme emerging from the play I’m directing and the movies I chose for my dramatic structure class. Measure for Measure, and most of the movies are about flawed and damaged people trying to protect themselves. Some of them commit terrible acts, or are forced to face their woundedness. But in almost every case they are redeemed by people who love and forgive them.

Then there was the Larry Nassar case. He sexually abused more than 150 young girls and women gymnasts including some Olympic champions. Thursday night as we were leaving class, my students couldn’t help but bring up the case and how they thought he got what he deserved. All the way home I was thinking about my themes for the year; how we’re all flawed, sometimes making huge mistakes, and that possibly unconditional love and forgiveness might just redeem us all. But it’s hard to go against conventional wisdom. I mean, I feel torn about such cases. Do we just let violent offenders go without any consequences? Do we shower them with love and expect them to change?

I have no clear answers for those questions, except that I think it’s always good to defend the weak. And how can we learn if we don’t face the consequences of what we do?

As I was ruminating about these issues, the book Conversations with God came to mind. In the book, Neale Donald Walsch asks God a very important question about the evil we humans have created. God said something that confirmed some deeply buried beliefs I had never dared to speak out loud, “”Evil is that which you call evil. Yet even that I love, for it is only through that which you call evil that you can know good; only through that which you call the work of the devil that you can know and do the work of God. … I do not love ‘good’ more than ‘bad.’ Hitler went to heaven. When you understand this, you will understand God.” Then when Neale says that he was raised to believe that good and bad do exist, God replies, “Everything is ‘acceptable’ in the sight of God, for how can God not accept that which is? … Yet hold to your beliefs and stay true to your values … still examine them one by one.”

Well, this year I’m examining my beliefs about what we do to ourselves and each other. For now holding myself and others accountable is a good thing. The discussions that abound right now about human rights of all kinds are good because we need to address the rage of those who have been mistreated for so many centuries. We have to allow them to tell their stories so they can heal. In turn we all need to tell our stories in order to see where we’ve become uncaring and cruel so we can choose new ways to interact with each other.

On a more personal note, during this process of preparing to direct Measure for Measure, I realize that I am so hard on myself. I blame myself for not being sensitive enough, yet like two of the main characters in the play, I’m tempted to shut off my emotions because it’s just too painful to be bombarded daily with new allegations of abuse, or new legislation that hurts the people who are in the most need. I expect myself to be perfectly loving, accepting, compassionate, and forgiving. But I’m human and sometimes I call people idiots and shake may head at their lack of compassion. Then I think, who am I to judge? Living is a complicated proposition, unless I remember that I’m not the one in charge of the big picture. I’m merely one of the actors on the stage.

So, we’re all works in progress and I’ll try to be better at giving myself a break when I’m not as “good” as I think I should be and do the same for those around me.

Thanks for reading, commenting and pressing the like button.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Trying Something New

Revised book cover for The Space Between Time

“Be brave enough to try something new; you might just succeed.” ~ Stacey Kehoe

“I want to keep trying something new all the time. It is the only way to grow.” ~ Akkineni Nagarjuna

“I’m open for possibilities. I’m open for choices. I always welcome new ideas. I’m always eager to learn. I’m never going to close my mind from learning.” ~ Cesar Millan

Last week I learned something new. I poked around on my WordPress page and discovered how to embed a video into this blog. I was so proud of myself. I could have asked my husband, my resident tech geek, for help but I wanted to learn how to do it for myself so I would remember how to do it again on another occasion.

Something else I learned last week was how to create and edit an audio recording in Garage Band, the music/voice app for the Mac. I did that because – drum roll – I wanted to add an audio of myself reading the first chapters of my book.

You see, I want to create an audio version of The Space Between Time this year and I thought I might try out a few chapters on all my social networks, and here with you in this blog. They do it with plays and movies, do what they call tryouts to see how it will be received. I’m doing that to see if I can get feedback because, even though I have acted in the past, I’m not a professional actor. And it’s been a really long time since I’ve been on the stage. Let me just say that my first attempt was not very good. Today, I’m sharing my second attempt. It may take me awhile before I get back into the acting groove.

The section I’m sharing today is a short beginning portion of chapter one. I had to create a YouTube video, but I’ll keep working on creating just an audio version. I hope you enjoy it, or if not please give me some constructive feedback.

Thanks for reading, and listening. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Unbridled Joy

Unbridled Joy

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain … To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” ~ Kevyn Aucoin

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” ~ Joseph Campbell

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host again difficulties.” ~ Helen Keller

During my meditation and study this morning, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I have not had enough moments of unbridled joy in my life and that made me sad for a moment. It’s not enough to let go of fear, which I’m working on. I need to stop being so repressed and allow myself to express joy and not care what anyone thinks about it.

Then, in Pam Grout’s post about today’s A Course In Miracles lesson she said that the course can be summed up in 11 words: The universe has your back and everything’s going to be okay, which to me means I don’t have to control any of the things I thought I had to keep my eye on. I’m free to look around and appreciate the beauty of the world, or enjoy conversations with students, family, or friends, or have fun reading a good book or watching a movie. I can enjoy teaching, writing and directing. I can even enjoy going grocery shopping, or running errands. The decision about how I feel about my life is inside my head and heart.

The most important thing I have to remind myself about all the time is that my thoughts, feelings and actions aren’t confined to just me. They are energy which projects out and affect everything and everyone. Knowing that makes me feel even more committed to sharing the positive emotions rather than the negative. I want to be one of those people others want to be with because they feel good when I’m around. Don’t we avoid people who make us feel horrible? I know I do because after spending even a small amount of time around them, I feel exhausted.

So, I’m going to spread a little joy today by sharing the same Matt Harding video Pam shared in her blog. I don’t know why, but I cry every time I see this. And judging by the comments on his YouTube channel, I’m not the only one who weeps. The video makes me cry and laugh at the same time. Maybe it’s because I’m releasing all those negative emotions and making room for joy. Or maybe it’s because it’s the vision of the world I want to live in.

Thanks so much for reading. Have a joyful weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.